Untangling the Maternity Crisis

“Women and midwives are unable to form the protective trusting relationships in a system that has adopted a business model based on outmoded factory principles that prioritise tasks and rules over nurturing and caring. This is wholly inappropriate for maternity services and results in unbearable emotional and physical costs to mothers, student midwives and midwives, as well as untenable financial costs to the state.

Women’s, student midwives’ and midwives’ spirits and aspirations are ‘broken’ by the pressures to conform and ‘fit in’ and trapped by the corrosive standardisation, fear and blame that pervade current maternity care. It is horrifying to ‘see’ how the long fingers of neoliberalism increasingly stretch out and take hold of our day-to-day lives and the devastating consequences this has for maternity care on women, student midwives and midwives.

The system itself is broken. It can only change if trusting relationships between women, student midwives and midwives are enabled to flourish.”

Nadine Edwards, Rosemary Mander and Jo Murphy-Lawless.


This quote is from the insightful new book, Untangling the Maternity Crisis. Like any good book which unpacks a problem, it’s not always a comfortable read, but it is SO important for its analysis of the problems that the maternity services currently face. The problems aren’t simple. They aren’t caused by any particular professional group, or by women or by any of the single things that it is all too easy to blame. They are deeply rooted in some of the cultural values that underpin our society, and this book helps demonstrate how that works and will help anyone interested in the problems that we face to understand them better. The book also looks at woman-centred and community-based approaches which work better, and some practical responses to the problems that we face.


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More information on Untangling the Maternity Crisis here.